United States ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. donated $2,500 worth of books to Rooftop Promotion’s Theatre in the Park (TITP) last month.
The literature comprising of 107 books written by mostly African-American authors helps move Rooftop towards its vision of having Sub-Saharan Africa’s first comprehensive arts library with texts in every segment and genre.
Rooftop director Daves Guzha said, “Two months ago, Ambassador Harry came to TITP and while we were discussing things that needed to be done, the idea of having a library for artists to access literature they can read before and after play rehearsal came up.”
Guzha said he specifically requested literature and theatre textbooks by African-American writers. “The ambassador then started picking out books from his private collection and then got some literature from friends and generously donated to us.”
Ambassador Thomas said, “What I love about Zimbabwe is the love of its people for art – be it theatre, music, literature or poetry.” Thomas added that he was happy to make his contribution towards the development of local art. The library continues to receive generous donations from various benefactors, including renowned theatre writer Stephen Chifunyise.
The donated books can be accessed by artists and members of the public. “They can either read from TITP or take them home at a fee yet to be discussed,” said Guzha.
Rooftop also plans to create a virtual library to include research by different academics including dissertations by university students studying art and related subjects. “We are currently engaging universities,” he said.
Image: Artists holding up books donated by the US Ambassador to the new Theatre in the Park library.